Wednesday 14 October 2009

Another District councillor Defects to UKIP

MANSFIELD'S only elected Conservative politician has quit the party to join the UK Independence Party (UKIP. District councillor Nick Bennett and life-long party supporter Philip Smith, chairman of Mansfield Conservative Association, have decided to switch to UKIP — saying they feel let down by the Tories' stance on Europe.

They were set to notify party officials about the move last night, who they believed knew nothing beforehand of their plans to quit. Coun Bennett (31), who has been a district councillor for two years, said: "All parties at the moment seem to not be giving a clear message on Europe.

"I have been a Conservative since I was 18. I feel heartbroken that I have had to make this decision.

"The Conservative conference has done it. The party is letting us down. We are not getting clear leadership from them. I have thought long and hard about this.

"I say we should have a full referendum about whether we should be in Europe or out of it.

"I want to be out of Europe. It stinks that the British people are not being allowed to have a referendum.

"There's only one party that are actually giving any clear guidance and giving the best policy on the issues. I have made the decision to go to UKIP — they have the guts to have their say on European issues.

"I don't think it's necessary to stand down from the council. I represent people really well in Berry Hill ward.

"They know I represent honesty and I have respect for them. I don't think they would want me to stand down." He said: "It really has been a heart-searching experience. It is one of the saddest decisions I have ever had to make, but it is something I feel really strongly about.

"The EU is an extremely costly organisation to this country with no discernible benefits. We don't need all this red tape.

"Immigration is something high up on people's agenda. I am not racist.

"We hear much about protecting our borders from illegal immigrants but anyone from the member states can come here anyway.

"I am not objecting to people coming here if they are going to help with our economy, but we are a small island and there's a limit to how many people we can support, regardless of their nationality." David Hamilton, treasurer of the North Nottinghamshire branch of UKIP, said he was delighted the pair had decided to join his party.

"Being a new branch in Mansfield, we are looking to build the membership and especially with Nick and Philip having so much experience, we are hoping they can pass that on to us," he said.


Gawain Towler said...

They won't feel heartbroken for long. Soon they will be breathing the air of freedom. It is a very good feeling.
These days the many Tories only stay in the party because they think that they will lose face and friends by admitting that they are in the wrong party. Neither happens. Your friends stay your friends and you give others the courage of their convictions.

Great to have them both on board.

Steve Halden said...

The tectonic plates are moving in British politics.

The Irish have ratified the Lisbon Treaty.

The expenses scandal has taken off again.

Poland has ratified the EU Treaty.

This defection is another example of the great changes that are taking place.